A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire
The first two books of the Wicked series are undoubtedly two of my favorite novels of all time. They encapsulate what I have always loved about fairy tales. When I was younger it was about the possibility of true love withstanding any obstacle in its way. The characters were always whimsical but somehow relatable to me at whatever age at which I was reading the story. More importantly, however, each time I read the story something new occurred to me. Sometimes it was an aspect of a character that I hadn’t noticed before but due to whatever I was going through in my own personal life I now found fascinating. Other times it was reassurance that you didn’t have to get naked to keep a man’s attention because, after all, princesses didn’t have to shed their ball gowns for a prince to love her.
Maguire brings a darker and more realistic side of the tale to life. The Wicked Witch of the West is really a person going through some crazy situations in life trying to figure out who and what she is. She falls in love, becomes politically idealistic, and fights till the end. Lion Among Men is no different. This is the “real” story of the Cowardly Lion. That’s what I love about the series. It’s the background story for all of the characters of Baum’s original story. He caries Baum’s political satire through without it being overwhelming and in your face. Maguire is one of the most talented writers today, and I can’t wait to dive into Out of Oz to see where he will take us next.
Next on the list: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich